Hampi is one of the holistic destinations in India with a great mix of heritage, culture, adventure and nature. Be it families, backpackers, or just a group of friends, the places to visit in Hampi fits every bill.
The landscape of Hampi consists of boulders perfectly stacked over each other, probably shaped by a number of natural phenomena – a terrain not found anywhere else in the world. Hampi is also known to showcase a breathtaking vista during sunrise and sunset.
Although it takes well over 3 days to cover all the places to visit in Hampi, hiring local tour guides can cut short the decision making process and set you up with the highlights of Hampi. However, the alternative to help you select is this Hampi tour guide with all information you may want to know of the monuments.
For the Heritage and Architecture enthusiasts:
Like most temples and heritage structures of South India, Hampi has its share of monuments well known for craftsmanship. Most structures have a granite base upto a height of about 10-20 feet after which limestone is often used for higher elevation and more intricate designs.
The Vijayanagara kings built several temples, each associated with their victories in battles. Most popular among these is the Vijaya Vittala temple, encompassing marvels like the stone chariot and the musical pillars. Some of the other architecture marvels include the Virupaksha Temple, the Lakshmi Narasimha Statue, the Hazara Rama Temple, the Royal Enclosure and the Zenana Enclosure.
Here’s all you need to know of these places to visit in Hampi,
Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM & 5 PM to 9 PM, every day
Entry Fee: Rs. 30 for Indian citizens; Rs. 500 for non-Indian citizens
This is the prime attraction in Hampi among the pilgrims. The Virupaksha temple is known to be one of the oldest functioning temples of India and was built in the 7th century. Over time, the Vijayanagara empire, with their unique architectural style, enhanced the temple to its the grandeur we see today. December is the peak time for this temple to be visited, and in February the annual chariot festival is hosted here.
The temple houses quite a few sculptures and designs from the bygone era and a visit to the temple must be the first thing you must do when you are exploring the places to visit in Hampi.
The temple is located at the Hampi Bazaar area and is the primary towering structure there. This temple also houses the temple elephant, Lakshmi. Don’t miss out watching the Mahout give a bath to Lakshmi every morning and evening.
Vijaya Vittala Temple:
Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM, everyday.
Entry Fee: Rs. 30 for Indian citizens; Rs. 500 for non-Indian citizens (ticket reusable at Zenana Enclosure on the same day)
The Vijaya Vittala Temple is one of the best places to visit in Hampi, especially since it is regarded as the epitome of the dexterous architecture of the Vijayanagara Empire. It houses a number of marvels like the stone chariot and the musical pillars. The former is a seemingly monolithic statue that was built with stone slabs. This structure found its way into the Rs. 50 note that was printed in 2017. The latter are a set of pillars which, when tapped, produces a sound identical to a note of its corresponding instrument.
A mythical creature of great significance found in this temple is the Yali, used to symbolize the characteristics of the Vijayanagara warriors.
This is one of the places to visit in Hampi that requires local tour guides in order to uncover the stories of the place. Check out this micro tour to explore Hampi in a day.
Timings: 5:30 AM – 1:00 PM & 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Entry Fee: Free
Duration: 2 hours
The Achyutaraya Temple being off the main touristy circuit, has a much thinner crowd relative to the Virupaksha Temple and enjoys a breathtaking view of the landscape. This temple was built by the King Achyutaraya and is dedicated to Vishnu, making it a fine example of Vijayanagara architecture.
The temple is located next to the Matanga Hill. We do have a few micro tours at our website that helps you explore this temple as well as the surrounding marvels.
Lakshmi Narasimha Statue:
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Free
The Lakshmi Narasimha Statue is very popular among the places to visit in Hampi. It is the largest monolith in Hampi and the architecture is considered one of the best since a statue this large rarely has such intricate designs. Though it was damaged during the fall of the empire, it still talks volumes about the dexterity of Vijayanagara stonemasons.
Hemakuta Hill complex:
Timings: All day
Entry Fee: Free
This hill is located right adjacent to the Virupaksha Temple and houses the ruins of many temples and structures from the era of the Vijayanagara empire. But what makes this hill special is that this is one of the best places to visit in Hampi to experience its breathtaking sunset. The entire hill is crawling with Langurs so be mindful of the food you are holding in your hands.
Timings: All day
Entry Fee: Free
The Royal Enclosure was the seat of Power of the Vijayanagara Empire. This enclosure houses many important structures and relics of this era, all spread over hundreds of square meters. Since a majority of these structures have been demolished, taking a Hampi tour guide is highly recommended to depict how significant the place might have been.
Things you should not miss at the Royal Enclosure:
Mahanavami Dibba – This is a platform that rises up to eight meters with three tiers. The platform was used during the Navami celebration and every tier showcase intricate designs that depict the everyday life of the empire. It is located at the northeast section of the enclosure.
Hazara Rama Temple – This temple is known to be one of the most significant temples in Hampi on account of the stories engraved on its basalt walls. Since the ‘Kishkindha Kand’ of the Ramayana happened in Hampi, this temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, and its walls tell tales of his bravery.
Stepped Tank – Covering an area of 22 sq meters and going down a depth of seven meters with five tiers, this tank is one well-preserved monument that must not be missed. The tank was used by the royalty for religious purposes. It stands to the south of the Mahanavami Dibba.
Durbar Hall – This 100 pillared structure is believed to be where the king addressed his audience. The remnants suggests that it may have been a two storeyed structure made of wood but it was believed to have been destroyed in a fire during the 16th century.
Underground Chamber – It is believed that the Kings held his secret discussions with his trusted companions here in this underground chamber and has independant entry and exit routes. The chamber lies between the Durbar Hall and the Stepped Tank.
Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM, everyday
Entry Fee: Rs. 30 for Indian citizens; Rs. 500 for non-Indian citizens (ticket reusable at Vittala Temple on the same day)
Right next to the Royal Enclosure, you will find the Zenana Enclosure, which was said to be a fortified harem for the women of royalty. This enclosure too houses many structures that showcase an Indo-Islamic architecture. This, along with the Royal enclosure, are known to be some of the best places to visit in Hampi to explore Vijayanagara empire’s heritage. Some of the popular structures housed within are:
Lotus Mahal – The Lotus Mahal is the main attraction of the Zenana enclosure. It is a domed structure was designed in the shape of a lotus bud with the archways shaped like the petals of the lotus, giving the entire monument a look of a half opened lotus bud. The Lotus Mahal and the elephant stables are one of the few structures left untouched by the invaders of Hampi. It stands at the southeastern corner of the enclosure.
Basement of the Queen’s Palace – Since most of the structures were built with wood, the only proof of the existence of the Queen’s Palace is the underground basement on which it was built. Since the three-tiered structure was built in an elaborate fashion, it is believed that it held a grand structure on top. It is located at the center of the Zenana Enclosure.
Treasury building – At the north-west corner, is a rectangular structure known as the treasury building. Though some believe this was the quarter of the eunuchs who guarded the enclosure, it is known to be the treasury since there are no windows or any sources of light.
Watch towers – There are three watch towers located at three corners of the enclosure, each showcasing an Indi-Islamic architectural style. It is believed that the women of Royalty would stand on these towers to look at the processions. Today the visitors get a really great view of the surround areas including the Elephant Stables.
Timings: 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM
Located adjacent to the Zenana Enclosure, this structure housed the Royal Elephants of Vijayanagara Empire. These eleven capacious domed structures could hold a total of 22 large elephants. The central dome showcases an architectural style that is seen in the temples of Hampi while the rest of the ten domed structures use an Islamic style of architecture.
For pilgrims and enthusiasts of the Ramayana:
Right next to Hampi is Anegundi, a place closely associated with the Ramayana. Here is where the Kishkindha Kand of the Ramayana took place and many of the locations mentioned in the epic can still be seen today. Here are a few iconic locations from the Ramayana that cannot be missed among the places to visit in Hampi.
To know more about Hampi’s connection to the Ramayana, check out Reliving the Ramayana at Hampi.
Going by the Ramayana, Sugriva was the one who found the jewels Sita threw hoping that Rama would find it, while she was being abducted by Ravana. He hid them inside the cave he lived in and it is believed that this cave is found along the banks of the Tungabhadra river and is known as Sugriva’s Cave. It is located just a fifteen minute walk away from the Kodandarama Temple.
This hill is the fabled birthplace of the Hindu God, Hanuman. At the summit of this hill, stands a temple that is dedicated to him. The Anjanadri Hill is also known to be one of best places in to visit in Hampi to enjoy a spectacular sunset.Though it is a bit of a climb, it is frequented by the worshippers of Lord Rama and Hanuman.
The hill is located at Anegundi, which is adjacent to Virupapuragaddi, or Hippie Island.
This is one of the most popular among the places to visit in Hampi. Back when Hampi was known as Kishkinda, there was a Sage named Matunga who lived atop this hill. It is said that King Vali was cursed from entering the premises on account of defouling the place by disposing the carcass of a demon. Later, this is also where Sugriva took refuge while escaping from the fatal clutches of his Brother, Vali. This hill is known to be the best among the places to visit in Hampi to experience the sunrise and sunset. Here is a must try micro tour if only have a few hours during dusk.
Alternative Experiences to try:
Not far from Hampi is the serene Sanapur Lake which is fed by a canal from the Tungabhadra river. Not developed as a tourist spot yet, the lake retains its raw charm of being surrounded by untouched boulders and natural setting.
A couple of popular activities here are coracle rides and swimming, although you might see a board of two about the threat of crocodiles. The local tour guides never seem to have spotted one though. Be sure to carry a couple of camping chairs or a blanket to camp out by the lake.
Hirebenakal by the Megalith builders:
Believed to have been built over 3000 years ago these splendid stone structures are a sight to see. A couple of hours away from Hampi, the trail for the trek uphill starts from paddy fields. A good hike up for about half an hour will lead you to these dwellings.
It is believed that the megalith builders who dwell here probably were only 3 feet and strong men to have built such structures. This is an undiscovered jewel and make a great trip for the adrenaline junkie or photographer among you. You will need local tour guides to help discover this place.
Daroji Bear Sanctuary:
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry fee: Rs. 50 for Indian citizens; Rs. 300 for non-Indian citizens.
Another one among the places to visit in Hampi is the Daroji Bear Sanctuary. This place was established for the conservation of the endemic species of Sloth bears that roam these lands. These bears hide themselves among the many boulders of Hampi. For those who enjoy a holiday close to nature, this sanctuary would be ideal. The bear sanctuary is located 20 Km southeast of Hampi.
To help you explore better, one of the micro tours we have helps you get a closer look at these bears.
Although not among the places to visit in Hampi, the surroundings districts are very popular for mining activities and some large open mines can be found in a radius of 2 hours from Hampi. Although not accessible for everyone, it is a chance worth taking if you like a larger than life perspective of how the basic minerals you use are dug out of the ground.